I thought it was about time that I posted a review of the online video/animation creation software, Vyond (formally known as GoAnimate). In a previous blog post, I reviewed a similar cloud-based application called PowToon. I’ve been using Vyond for a while now, so I’ve really got to know the software along with the pros and cons.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
I’ve been using Vyond on and off for a while and I have to say, I love it! It allows you to create engaging animated videos so quickly and easily. Videos and animations are hugely popular at the moment, but hiring an animator to create something from scratch is extremely expensive. Vyond provides you with the tools to make sleek, professional looking videos. Part of Vyond’s mission statement is:
To put the power of video in the hands of everyone. Vyond allows people of all skill levels in all industries and job roles to create dynamic and powerful media.
Is it better than hiring an animator? If you have the money for one, then no, of course not. But you need to think about purpose, time and effort. Vyond really do make it very easy to create videos with limited technical ability.
A company I worked for in the past paid £6,000 for a 2 minute explainer video. Yes, the video was excellent quality, but was it worth the money? The video wasn’t used on the front page of the website and its purpose was to make people aware of a new scheme the company was running to promote inclusion. A very important topic! But I just felt as though it was a lot of money spent on something that actually wasn’t very well advertised (to find the video you needed to click on about 5 pages…). Something like this could have been created in Vyond with the same impact. With Vyond costing (at the time of writing) $999 per year for the Professional subscription, it would have saved money and provided a platform to create further videos.
I digress…what I am trying to point out is that this software is very powerful and can be used to create some pretty great videos. This type of cloud-based animation software however does suffer from customisation restrictions. Similar to Powtoon, Vyond comes with three different “Styles” of animation, Business Friendly, Whiteboard and Contemporary. I’ve seen some really good marketing videos which have used Vyond in such a way that I’ve not even recognised they’d used the software. However as you have to pick these styles to use, you can end up sharing a branded look and feel with other users. The videos start to look a bit “samey.”
Compared to Powtoon, Vyond provides you with so much more customisation at a cheaper price. You get a lot more value for money and I think the price is extremely reasonable. There are three types of subscriptions available, Enterprise, Business and Personal, I do find the subscriptions have confusing names, as each type then whittles down further to Essential, Premium and Professional. I’d recommend checking out the website for more information on the particular subscription types.
For me, I’ve found that the Business subscription Vyond Premium contains everything I need for the type of work I am using it for and it’s the tier I would recommend if the price is a concern. With this subscription you get:
- No logo or watermark on your videos
- Access to the business-friendly and whiteboard character creator
- Download videos at 1080 and 720p
- Unlimited video creation and download
- Import audio and video
When I went to the Vyond meetup in London there were a few features that were coming to the Professional subscription which aren’t going to be available in the other subscriptions. For example, if you use a particular object in all your scenes and later want to swap it with something else, currently you’d have to edit and swap the item on every slide it appears on. A new feature is going to be implemented where you can replace this in every slide with 1 click of a button which would actually be really helpful. It is annoying though that little things like this are only available if you pay more money.
What I like about Vyond compared to Powtoon is the animation of the characters. You can change a characters pose, action, their face. You can make a character slide along the floor, do a dance, whilst crying. With Powtoon you are given a set of characters and that’s it, no further customisation. I do however prefer some of the animation styles in Powtoon and love the look and feel of their characters and templates, but Vyond just provides you with so much more customisation. I don’t want this post to turn into too much of a comparison between Vyond and Powtoon, I would actually use both pieces of software in a slightly different way for different purposes.
Vyond is incredibly easy to use. I tend to use Articulate Storyline and Vyond together to create a more powerful and diverse e-learning experience. Please see my previous post for an example of how I have used both pieces of software together.
I use Vyond with Google Chrome. The user interface is intuitive and easy to learn. Camera panning and zooming can be implemented with a click of a button. You can add music from the music library to your video and there are lots of soundtracks to choose from. What I really love about the software is the character lip sync, you can add a narrated audio track to your character and they will lip sync to it. This makes creating character interactions and scenarios
What I really love about the software is the character lip sync.
If you don’t have access to a voiceover artist, you can upload your script and the software will add a generated voicover to your character, however this isn’t perfect and does sound very robotic. One feature the software doesn’t do which I’d love to see, is the ability to upload a script, generate the lip syncing but allow you to mute the audio. Sometimes I am working on projects where the script is ready but the audio will come later, but I just want the lipsync included.
Vyond also comes with character customisation. Personally, I’m a big fan of the contemporary style of character, although you can only make character customisations to this set if you have a Business Professional or Enterprise subscription (again, check out the website for more information on this). This hasn’t really impacted me, but it would be cool to try out the features. You can make customisations to the other character sets Business Friendly and Whiteboard if you have access to the Business Premium subscription, although I have to admit, I’ve never used it.
PROS AND CONS
- Easy to use
- Lots of characters and props, no limitations on their use
- Pricing is reasonable
- As with all cloud-based applications, some of the features are only available if you spend more money.
An easy to use, cost-effective, cloud-based animated video creator. I would highly recommend for creating concept, explainer and scenario videos. Very powerful tool and easy to combine with authoring software such as Articulate Storyline.
If you want to try Vyond, you can sign-up for a free 14 day trial. Sign up and check it out for yourself!
I am hoping to post some more examples of how I have used Vyond at a later date.